Schenectady, New York

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Schenectady
City
Nott Memorial Hall, Union College, Schenectady, NY.jpg
Nott Memorial Hall, Union College
Name origin: Mohawk word meaning Beyond the pine plains
Nickname: The Electric City
Country United States
State New York
RegionCapital District
CountySchenectady
LandmarkProctors Theatre
RiverMohawk
Coordinates42°48′N 73°56′W / 42.800°N 73.933°W / 42.800; -73.933
Highest point
 - elevation324 ft (99 m)
Area11 sq mi (28 km2)
 - land10.9 sq mi (28 km2)
 - water0.1 sq mi (0 km2)
 - metro6,570 sq mi (17,016 km2)
Population66,135 (2010)
 - metro870,716
Density6,012 / sq mi (2,321 / km2)
Settled1661
Incorporated1798
GovernmentSchenectady City Hall
MayorGary McCarthy (D)
TimezoneEastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code12301–12309, 12325, 12345
Area code518
FIPS code36-65508
GNIS feature ID0964570
Location within Schenectady County, New York, and the county within the state
Wikimedia Commons: Schenectady, New York
Website: City Website
 
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Coordinates: 42°48′N 73°56′W / 42.800°N 73.933°W / 42.800; -73.933
Schenectady
City
Nott Memorial Hall, Union College, Schenectady, NY.jpg
Nott Memorial Hall, Union College
Name origin: Mohawk word meaning Beyond the pine plains
Nickname: The Electric City
Country United States
State New York
RegionCapital District
CountySchenectady
LandmarkProctors Theatre
RiverMohawk
Coordinates42°48′N 73°56′W / 42.800°N 73.933°W / 42.800; -73.933
Highest point
 - elevation324 ft (99 m)
Area11 sq mi (28 km2)
 - land10.9 sq mi (28 km2)
 - water0.1 sq mi (0 km2)
 - metro6,570 sq mi (17,016 km2)
Population66,135 (2010)
 - metro870,716
Density6,012 / sq mi (2,321 / km2)
Settled1661
Incorporated1798
GovernmentSchenectady City Hall
MayorGary McCarthy (D)
TimezoneEastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code12301–12309, 12325, 12345
Area code518
FIPS code36-65508
GNIS feature ID0964570
Location within Schenectady County, New York, and the county within the state
Wikimedia Commons: Schenectady, New York
Website: City Website

Schenectady /skɨˈnɛktədi/ is a city in Schenectady County, New York, United States, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 66,135. The name "Schenectady" is derived loosely from a Mohawk word for "on that side of the pinery," or "near the pines," or "place beyond the pine plains."[1]

It is in eastern New York, near the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. It is in the same metropolitan area as the state capital, Albany, about 19 miles (31 km) south-east.[2]

History[edit]

When first encountered by Europeans, the area that is now Schenectady was the land of the Mohawk nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. When Dutch settlers arrived in the Hudson Valley in the 17th century, the Mohawk called the settlement at Fort Orange (present day Albany, NY) Schau-naugh-ta-da, meaning "over the pine plains." Eventually, this word entered the lexicon of the Dutch settlers, but the meaning was reversed, and the name referred to the bend in the Mohawk River where the city lies today.

Schenectady was first settled by Europeans in 1661 when the area was part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Settlement was led by Arent van Curler, a prominent figure in the colony who had emigrated from Nijkerk in the Netherlands, after purchase from the Mohawk Nation. Some of the Dutch brought African slaves to the region as laborers, as did the later English. In 1664 the English seized the Dutch colony and renamed it New York. Settlers purchased additional land from the Mohawk in 1670 and 1672. Twenty years later (1684) Governor Thomas Dongan granted letters patent for Schenectady to five trustees.[3]

On February 8, 1690, during King William's War, French forces and their Indian allies attacked Schenectady by surprise, leaving 62 dead. American history notes it as the Schenectady massacre.[4] In 1748, during King George's War, the French and Indians attacked again.

In 1765, Schenectady was incorporated as a borough. Union College was founded in 1795. During the American Revolutionary War the local militia unit, the 2nd Albany County Militia Regiment, fought in the Battle of Saratoga and against Loyalist troops. Most of the warfare in the Mohawk Valley occurred farther west on the frontier.

The settlement was chartered as a city in 1798. In the 19th century, after completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, Schenectady became an important transportation and trade center, as it was part of connecting the Hudson River to the Mohawk Valley and the Great Lakes. The Albany and Schenectady Turnpike (now State Street), established in 1797, connected Albany to the Mohawk Valley. The Erie Canal (now Erie Boulevard), opened in 1825, passed through here, as did the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad, opened in 1831 as one of the first railway lines in the United States. Commodities and commercial products were shipped to the East and New York City through the Mohawk Valley and Schenectady.

In the antebellum years, Schenectady became a center of abolitionist activities. The last slaves in New York did not gain freedom until 1827, although the state had passed a gradual emancipation act in 1799, which first freed the children of slaves. Union College had established a school for black children in 1805, but discontinued it after two years. Parents had been unsuccessful in having their children admitted to public schools in the city.[5] In 1836, Rev. Isaac Groot Duryea was a co-founder of the interracial Anti-Slavery Society at Union College. An Underground Railroad route ran through the area.[6]

In 1837, Duryea helped found the First Free Church of Schenectady together with other free people of color; it provided space in the basement for a school for their children. The abolitionist Theodore Sedgwick Wright, who was based in New York City, spoke at the dedication of the church.[5]

In 1887, Thomas Edison moved his Edison Machine Works to Schenectady. In 1892, Schenectady became the headquarters of the General Electric Company. It became a major economic force and helped establish the city and region as a manufacturing center. GE became important nationally as a creative company.

Schenectady is home to WGY-AM, the second commercial radio station in the United States, (after WBZ in Springfield, Massachusetts, which was named for Westinghouse.) The station was named for its owner, General Electric (the G), and the city of Schenectady (the Y).[7] In 1928, General Electric produced the first regular television broadcasts in the United States, when the experimental station W2XB began regular broadcasts on Thursday and Friday afternoons. This television station is now WRGB; for years it was the Capital District's NBC affiliate, but is now the CBS affiliate.

Geography[edit]

Schenectady is located at 42°48′N 73°56′W / 42.800°N 73.933°W / 42.800; -73.933 (42.8041, −73.9293).[8] The altitude above sea level is 211 to 275 feet (64 to 84 meters).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.0 square miles (28.49 km2), of which, 10.9 square miles (28.23 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.27%) is water.

It is part of the Capital District, the metropolitan area surrounding Albany, New York state's capital. Along with Albany and Troy, it is one of the three principal population and industrial centers in the region.

Economy[edit]

Former GE headquarters building

The city was a manufacturing center known as "The City that Lights and Hauls the World" – a reference to two prominent businesses in the city, the Edison Electric Company (now known as General Electric), and the American Locomotive Company (ALCO). GE retains its administrative core in Schenectady, but it relocated thousands of manufacturing jobs to the Sun Belt and abroad. ALCO produced steam locomotives for railroads for years, and then in the later years became famous for its "Superpower" line of high-pressure locomotives, such as those for the Union Pacific Railroad in the 1930s and 1940s, and made tanks in the Second World War. As diesel locomotives began to appear, ALCO joined with GE to develop diesel locomotives to compete with the EMD division of General Motors. But corporate restructuring to cope with the changing locomotive procurement environment saw the slow downward spiral of ALCO. Its operations fizzled as the company went through acquisitions and restructuring in the late 1960s. Its Schenectady plant closed in 1969. In the late 20th century, the city experienced difficult financial times, as did many upstate New York former manufacturing cities. The loss of employment caused Schenectady's population to decline by nearly one-third since 1950.

In the 21st century, Schenectady began revitalization. GE's establishing a renewable energy center brought hundreds of employees to the area. It is part of a metropolitan area with improving economic health, and buildings have been renovated for new uses. Numerous small businesses, retail stores and restaurants have developed on State Street.[9]

Price Chopper Supermarkets and the New York Lottery are based in Schenectady.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.
18005,289
18105,90311.6%
18203,939−33.3%
18304,2688.4%
18406,78459.0%
18508,92131.5%
18609,5797.4%
187011,02615.1%
188013,65523.8%
189019,90245.7%
190031,68259.2%
191072,826129.9%
192088,72321.8%
193095,6927.9%
194087,549−8.5%
195091,7854.8%
196081,070−11.7%
197077,958−3.8%
198067,972−12.8%
199065,566−3.5%
200061,821−5.7%
201066,1357.0%

In the census[10] of 2010, there were 66,135 people, 26,265 (2000 data) households, and 14,051 (2000 data) families residing in the city. The population density was 6,096.7 people per square mile (2,199.9/km²). There were 30,272 (2000 data) housing units at an average density of 2,790.6 per square mile (1,077.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.38%(52.31% Non-Hispanic) (7.07 White-Hispanic)White, 24.19% African American, 0.69% Native American, 2.62% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 8.24% from other races, and 5.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.47% of the population. There is a growing Guyanese population in the area.[original research?] Top Ancestries- Italian (13.6%),Guyanese(12.3%),Irish (12.1%),Puerto Rican(10.1%) German (8.7%), English (6.0%), Polish (5.4%), French (4.4%).


The Schenectady City School District is very diverse economically and racially.(71%- 2011)(80%-2013) of the district receives free or reduced lunch. The school district is 35% Black (48% Graduate), 32% White(71% Graduate), 18% Hispanic(51% Graduate), 15% Asian(68 % Graduate). The Graduation rate for the high school is 57%.[citation needed]

Using 2010 data, there were 28,264 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.0% were married couples living together, 24.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.5% were non-families. 38.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the year 2010 population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 13.6% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city in 2000 was $29,378 (2010–37,436), and the median income for a family was $41,158. Males had a median income of $32,929 versus $26,856 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,076. About 20.2% of families and 25.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.5% of those under age 18 and 5.6% of those age 65 or over.

Rail transportation[edit]

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides regular service to Schenectady to a station at 322 Erie Boulevard. Schenectady also has freight rail service from Canadian Pacific Railway and CSX Transportation.

Schenectady had a local streetcar system and electric interurban passenger service. The Schenectady Railway Co. had local lines and interurban lines serving Albany, Ballston Spa, Saratoga Springs and Troy. There was also a line from Gloversville, Johnstown, Amsterdam, and Scotia into Downtown Schenectady operated by the Fonda, Johnstown, and Gloversville Railroad. The nearly 200 leather and glove companies (178) in the Gloversville region generated considerable traffic for the line. Sales representatives carrying product sample cases would begin their sales campaigns throughout the rest of the country by taking the interurban to reach Schenectady's New York Central Railroad station, where they connected to trains to New York City, Chicago and points between.

The bright orange FJ&G interurbans were scheduled to meet every daylight New York Central train that stopped at Schenectady. Through the 1900s and into the early 1930s, the line was quite prosperous. In 1932 the FJ&G purchased five lightweight Bullet cars (#125 through 129) from the J. G. Brill Company. These interurbans represented state of the art design: the "bullet" description referred to the unusual front roof that was designed to slope down to the windshield in an aerodynamically sleek way. FJ&G bought the cars believing that there would be continuing strong passenger business from a prosperous glove and leather industry, as well as legacy tourism traffic to Lake Sacandaga north of Gloversville. Instead, roads were improved, automobiles became cheaper and were purchased more widely, tourists traveled more widely, and the Great Depression decreased business.

FJ&G ridership continued to decline, and in 1938 New York state condemned the line's bridge over the Mohawk River at Schenectady. This bridge had once carried cars, pedestrians, plus the interurban, but ice flow damage in 1928 prompted the state to restrict its use to the interurban. When in 1938 the state condemned the bridge for interurban use, the line abandoned passenger service. The desirable Bullet cars were sold. Freight business had also been important to the FJ&G, and it continued over the risky bridge into Schenectady a few more years.

Places of interest[edit]

Proctor's Theatre
An accordion-playing guide welcomes visitors to a restored Dutch home in the Schenectady Stockade District.

In popular culture[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Sister city[edit]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Jonathan Pearson et al., A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times, 30 July 2009. Retrieved on 28 September 2009
  2. ^ https://www.dot.ny.gov/design/milage-map2.jpg
  3. ^ "Schenectady Digital History Archive"
  4. ^ "The Schenectady Massacre: Settlers Killed and Captured", Freepages, Rootsweb
  5. ^ a b Theodore Sedgwick Wright, "Speech given during the dedication of the First Free Church of Schenectady, 28 December 1837", Emancipator, at University of Detroit Mercy, accessed 31 May 2012
  6. ^ "African-American History", Historic Vale Cemetery, 2000-2011, accessed 31 May 2012
  7. ^ Brian Belanger,Radio & Television Museum News, "Radio Station WGY"[dead link], Radio History, February 2006. Retrieved on December 1, 2008
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. (February 28, 2010). "Union College Finally Admits Where It Is". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ Scheltema, Gajus and Westerhuijs, Heleen (eds.),Exploring Historic Dutch New York, New York: Museum of the City of New York/Dover Publications, (2011) ISBN 978-0-486-48637-6
  12. ^ http://www.EdisonTechCenter.org
  13. ^ The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) - IMDb
  14. ^ The Time Machine (2002) - Filming locations
  15. ^ Interview with Harlan Ellison
  16. ^ It Came From Schenectady
  17. ^ It's Always Fair Weather (motion picture)
  18. ^ a b Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1967. 
  19. ^ a b "Great Inventors of New York's Capital District". 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Schenectady, New York at Wikimedia Commons